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Moving back to NH

mickinbedford Mar 18, 2007 06:13 PM

Relocated for work to San Diego 5 years ago and now moving back to Bedford area. So what is good in the last few years since I have been away? I have been back a few times, so the usual suspects can be ignored but interested in Manchester to Nashua and to the Seacoast who has the best Italian, Steak, Seafood, Indian, pub grub etc now in readers opinions - cheers

  1. o
    oopboromom Apr 6, 2007 05:07 PM

    Wow! You've gotten a lot of great replies, most of which I agree w/. Had to mention Karen's Kitchen for best breakfast. She and her husband, Andy, owned Andy's on Cypress and Massabesic in Manch, sold that and opened Karen's in the old Zingarella's building. It'a a "must try" Karen is from the Pappas royalty of Puritan Back Room fame, and she has the restaurant business in her blood. She also caters and did a special event for a friend's 90th b-day, let us use the restaurant at no charge and made incredible quality foods for reasonable prices. They're open for b-fast and lunch and do take-out til 6:00 including the famous "Back Room" chicken tenders.
    I noticed Pasquale's in Candia was missing from the lists and also Lakorn Thai (on the West side of Manch across from where Sully's used to be). Happy eating.

    1. whs Apr 2, 2007 09:55 AM

      We had a good meal at Florence's in Merrimack last night. It's a classic red-sauce place; tasty garlic bread and salad is included with entrees. My shrimp scampi was cooked perfectly--the shrimp were not overcooked or rubbery. The carbonara was delicious. The only negative--cigarette smoke from the bar invades the dining room and becomes a distraction.

      1. othervoice Apr 2, 2007 09:15 AM

        Hi, Mick,
        Welcome home! I did the same thing only I was in California for 25 years before returning home. So, one by one I'm trying to rediscover the NH dining scene. This weekend I spent a lovely brunch with family at The Black Forest Cafe in Amhearst. I'd recommend it to anyone that's craving sweets. The pastries and pies are incredible. We did have a good meal, omlettes were good, the crab benedict was nicely presented. There were seven of us and the only complaint was regarding the pancakes, although they looked great, they were rubbery, chewy and just not good. We had a lovely server, attentive and pleasant personality. The place is very charming and also has a pastry store, with lots of things that can be packed to go. The veal looked fantastic. Lots of goodies, giant cookies, brownies, tarts and pies. Overall, it's a nice place with a great staff and good food.....stay away from the pancakes and try the turtle brownies...YUM!

        1. l
          lexpatti Mar 23, 2007 08:38 AM

          We just had a great meal at Fratello's in Manchester. I don't see much written about them and I've eaten at their Homestead Rest. too in both Bristol and Londonderry. I wouldn't put it up there with Cotton but still had a great meal and great service. I'm an escargo fan and they did it right, also got a great dish - Seafood Sophia in a lobster cream sauce that was excellent. We sat upstairs where it's less noisy because of the open kitchen concept downstairs.

          7 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti
            mickinbedford Mar 23, 2007 06:36 PM

            I remember Fratello's as always fair to good but no where near as friendly as a more "local" place. When I lived in Bedford before they had a place called Zhingerelis(spelling) which had good food but one of the items making a differnce was if you went there enough, they remember you and the interaction with the chefs and waitstaff etc makes a difference in my mind, especially for Italian for some reason. yet to go to Surf, but will when I move back

            1. re: mickinbedford
              whs Mar 24, 2007 04:49 AM

              The popularity of Fratello's escapes me. The veal is tough, the sauces taste watery and lack any depth, the room is loud and chaotic, and the service is of the "Hi you guys my name is Brittany and I'll be your server tonight what do you want to drink?" variety. Unfortunately Zingarella's closed, which shows you that most people would rather go to a chain (albeit a local one) with predictable food than a neighborhood place. You might like Lucia's Tavola on Rte 13 in Brookline NH (about a 20 minute drive from Manch). It's run by an Italian lady who does great home-style cooking.

              1. re: whs
                lexpatti Mar 24, 2007 05:38 AM

                Price might be it's popularity too. We usually aren't on a budget (should be sometimes) but that night it was Cotton, Buckley's or Fratello's and price won. :-) Still pleased though but had I been to the other too - I'm sure I'd still be drooling.

                1. re: whs
                  hummingbird Mar 24, 2007 01:59 PM

                  Just went to Lucia's abouut a month ago - been back since- and have nothing but good things to say.

                  Went when it first opened, and just wasn't impressed.

                  Decided to give it a try again, and fell in love.

                  I have only had gnocchi once before and they were heavy and not very good, I don't know where, but I just never ordered them again.

                  So I decided to try them at Lucia's. They are like light little bursts of flavor heven!

                  First time with fontina and butter, next time with bolongese - both just wonderful.

                  Oh and you can get arincina, the only other place I know of in the area is Pizzico, but I haven't been there in a long time.

                  So now on my go to along with Cunica Toscano.

                  1. re: whs
                    mickinbedford Mar 24, 2007 04:15 PM

                    WHS - thanks for Lucias - will check this out too. Looking forward to coming back now - going to drive to see some sights I know I would not normally and hopefully get to chow on some local food in AZ, NM, TX, TN etc on way back

                    1. re: mickinbedford
                      Jerry Saywell Mar 26, 2007 09:26 AM

                      For great NH Pub Food and Atmosphere, try Widow Fletcher's Tavern on Route 1 in the center of Hampton, NH.

                      On your road trip, if you are taking I10 out of San Diego, try the El Corral on River Road in Tucson, AZ and La Posta de Mesilla in the village of Mesilla, just outside Las Cruces NM. Both are convenient to the Interstate.

                      If you are taking I40, do not miss the Turquoise Room at La Posada in Winslow, AZ. And Earls's Restaurant on Rte 66 in Gallup is always a great stop. Again, both are convenient to the Interstate.

                      If you are using I81 north out of Tennessee, try the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, WV.

                      If you are using the coastal route north, try Braddock's Tavern in Medford, NJ - take Rte 70, Marlton Pike, East off I295 to Main Street in Medford.

                      Jerry Saywell

                      1. re: mickinbedford
                        kittychow Mar 27, 2007 10:31 AM

                        If you happen to run through Sedona Arizona I wouldn't miss the Oak Creek Canyon Brewery. It's wonderful! Terrific beer, food and a killer view.

                2. whs Mar 20, 2007 09:10 AM

                  I copied and pasted this from one of my other posts:

                  Italian--Piccola Italia
                  Nepali--Cafe Momo
                  Vietnamese--Golden Bowl
                  Indian--India Palace
                  Soul Food--Premier Palate
                  BBQ--Down n Dirty
                  Upscale contemporary--Richard's Bistro
                  Poutine--Chez Vachon
                  Local color/glorified greek diner--Back Room at the Puritan
                  Upscale country inn--Bedford Village Inn
                  Chinese--Chen Yang Li
                  Brazilian churrascura--Gauchos
                  Fish--Commercial Street Fishery
                  and if you wish to venture further afar:
                  Seafood (probably the best in NH) Surf in Nashua
                  Sushi--Takumi in Nashua
                  Italian--Cucina Toscana in Nashua
                  Thai--Thon Khao in Nashua
                  Asian-Fusion--YouYou Bistro in Nashua
                  Chinese--Lilac Blossom in Nashua
                  Mexican--La Carreta in Nashua (I think they just opened in Manchester too)
                  Italian--Angelina's in Concord
                  Mexican--Los Hermanos in Concord

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: whs
                    kittychow Mar 21, 2007 11:42 AM

                    whs- can you give the location for the poutine? Glad you rememberd the name of the Nashua sushi place. Takumi is quite good for the area.

                    Have to disagree with you on Surf though. Have you tried Jay's in Portsmouth? I think that Surf can't measure up against it. I find Surf's menu and food to be pretty uninspired. I suppose they don't have much nearby competition to motivate them to step up their game though. I find the preparations to be too heavy and the appetizers to be pretty blah. Every time I've eaten there the server did a real hard sell on the raw bar that was pretty annoying as well. I dunno, it brings nice variety to the Nashua dining scene but it doesn't do it for me.

                    1. re: kittychow
                      whs Mar 21, 2007 04:02 PM

                      Chez Vachon, 136 Kelley St., 625-9660

                      Actually, the last time we went to Surf, we were a little underwhelmed. It felt like the kitchen was cooking by rote, and a little heavy-handed. The bill for two was around $130 and I kept hearing Peggy Lee in the back of my head singing: "is that all there is....?"

                  2. whs Mar 19, 2007 03:31 PM

                    Cucina Toscana has a great kitchen but service issues--slow, slow, slow. Thon Khao next door is decent Thai--try the beef salad (yam neua). Highly recommend India Palace Nashua.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: whs
                      lexpatti Mar 19, 2007 06:14 PM

                      Two other great ones in Manchester:

                      Vietnamese - Golden Bowl on Queen City Ave ( based on several great recommendations - it was excellent)

                      Sushi - Yuki (on South Willow) - excellent recommendations from Chowhounders - been twice now.

                    2. p
                      Putney Mar 19, 2007 03:26 PM

                      There have been countless posts about restaurants between Manchester and Nashua and out to Portsmouth. Go to "search". No one has mentioned Cafe Momo or the French Bistro in Milford. There's a new place in Salzburg Square on 101 in Amherst that looks promising: http://www.edenrestaurantandlounge.co...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Putney
                        mickinbedford Mar 19, 2007 06:18 PM

                        Thanks to all - good list. One thing about the seacrh feature is I cannot seem to do it by date, so when I search Portsmouth, for example, I can get posts from 2002, and cannot sort by date - or can I and I am missing it somehow

                        1. re: mickinbedford
                          lexpatti Mar 19, 2007 06:27 PM

                          I haven't been able to do that either. that's a frustrating thing about this, seems like that should be easy feature.......

                        2. re: Putney
                          rcianci Mar 24, 2007 07:22 PM

                          I'm happy to mention the French Bistro in Milford. It's my favorite restaurant in Southern New Hampshire. Go quick and try the roast venison with the candied pumpkin seeds before they change to the Spring menu.

                          Mezza's in Nashua is the best Lebanese I've had outside of New York City.

                          I also like Cotton in Manchester. Great food and great service.

                          Gauchos in Manchester wasn't great the last time I ate there, but I've enjoyed it on other occasions and anybody can have an off night.

                          I paid $17 for a large plate of French fries and a few mediocre clams at Commercial Street Fishery and I will not go back.

                          I'm underwhelmed by, no make that really dislike Michael Timothy's, Surf, and Buckley's. I can taste the prudence; the siding one too many times with durability over quality; the careful eye on the food costs when I've dined at all three of those places. Boring.

                          1. re: Putney
                            sweettoothduo Apr 2, 2007 01:15 PM

                            I just went to Cafe Momo last night for the first time. It was excellent. I had a haddock special. The food was unbelievable, different, and really reasonable(entrees are $15 or so).
                            www.cafemomonh.com I believe? is the site.

                          2. natureboy Mar 19, 2007 12:30 PM

                            Some good lists so far, especially kittychow's. So, I'll just add a few new ones. I like Black Orchid Grill (Temple St) and and India Palace (101A) in Nashua. For Asian, I like Dynamite Sushi (Hudson, NH) and Goong Choun (where Rice and Roll was, in Nashua).

                            Portsmouth is still my favorite dinner destination and I've recently found a few good places in Lowell. Those places have been discussed here, so you should do a search to find those topics.

                            1. kittychow Mar 19, 2007 08:04 AM

                              In Nashua:
                              Michael Timothy's: Good solid Italian. Very good pizza.
                              The Nashua Garden - Great hideaway for a sandwich and beer.
                              Peddler's Daughter has decent Irish pub faves like shepherd's pie and fish & chips
                              La Carreta - Mexican. I love this place. The food is very good and always fresh. I think they mix the best Margarita's in the area. Can get a little crazy on the weekends. It's really good and really inexpensive.
                              I think Surf is pretty hit or miss. I'd pass and head across the street to Michael Timothy's instead.
                              Sushi place in lamplighter square on DW Highway is about as good as it gets in that area.
                              Lilac Blossom on Amherst Street is good for Chinese but it's a bit over priced.

                              G Amato's deli has amazing Italian take out. Killer (huge) sandwiches, decent pizza, great selection of meats and cheeses. I also suggest trying some of the pre-made take out pasta dishes like chicken, broccoli & zitti.

                              Cotton - Great cocktails and food. Be sure the check out the specials as they have always been winners when I've ordered them. You can also get a pretty good steak here.
                              The Rover for a good pint

                              Jumpin' Jays for terrific seafood.
                              Pesce Blue is another good seafood option.
                              Friendly Toast might have the best breakfast in NH.

                              Buckley's is a very good new steak joint. Worth the price. The Cowboy steak is particularly good here.

                              The Mileaway is still pretty good.

                              1. r
                                rizzo0904 Mar 19, 2007 05:54 AM

                                I've never been to Ya Mammas and I don't hear many people talk about it so I can't help you with that one.

                                Not too familiar with Merrimac either so not sure about Country Kitchen.

                                There is a new pizza joint in Nashua called Olive 'N Herb that is very good. And their cannolis are simply amazing. It's on Canal Street. They sell dinners too.

                                Seven Hills Restaurant also opened since you've been gone. It's Turkish food...been getting great reviews.

                                Near Applebee's in Nashua (101A) is a place called Cedars. Excellent hummus and baklavah (sp???). The tabouli is also very good.

                                1. l
                                  lexpatti Mar 18, 2007 07:56 PM

                                  Excellent southern soul and bbq on Elm st. in Manch. Premier Palette (sp?) - everything homemade from scratch so don't be in a hurry (couple is from Georgia).

                                  Excellent Mexican - La Carrata's in both Nashua and north Manchester - gets mobbed but soooo worth it.

                                  Was Cotton around? I love it, downtown Manchester (just off commerical). Best lamb steak.

                                  Goucho's for excellent Brazillian - on Lowell st. Manchester - across from Red Arrow Diner.

                                  It's on my list because everyone says great things about Indian Palace in Nashua -
                                  haven't been yet though.

                                  Love Michael Timothy's in Nashua but haven't done his Surf or Buckley's yet, but high on my list.

                                  Welcome back!

                                  1. r
                                    rizzo0904 Mar 18, 2007 07:08 PM

                                    For seafood, try Surf in downtown Nashua. It's owned by the folks who own Michael Timothy's. They also have a steakhouse now called Buckley's.

                                    For Italian, I really like La Cucina Toscana on 101A in Nashua, across from Building 19. It's in a strip mall, but it is fantastic.

                                    For drinks, there is Margarita's and Peddler's Daughter...both in Nashua.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: rizzo0904
                                      mickinbedford Mar 18, 2007 07:27 PM

                                      Thanks - don't know Cucina so I will check it out when I get back. Heard of Surf but not been there. Is Ya Mammas still going strong and good? I also heard the country kitchen (Merrimac) changed to something - do you know this one?

                                      1. re: mickinbedford
                                        gryphonskeeper Mar 19, 2007 04:00 PM

                                        My last trip to YaMammas was VERY dissapointing. Just an FYI.

                                        1. re: mickinbedford
                                          hummingbird Mar 19, 2007 08:47 PM

                                          Country Kitchen ( not sure that is the right name). Are you talking about the place that is a house type place on Daniel Webster in Merrimack, not too far from the old Hannah Jack which is now by the way a Comman Man?

                                          If so it is now part of the Michale Timothy's - Buckley's Steak House.


                                          Ya Mammas http://www.yamammas.com/ - I have been twice in the last few months, and both times have been pleased. For a while had avoided it, but went one day when Cucina was closed on Super Bowl Sunday, and in the mood for Italian decided to try it again.

                                          I also really like Cuncina's on 101A - one of the chef's and the Matrie D are from Piccola in Manchester.

                                          I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with some of the changes in both areas. Not great, but things have gotten better in the last 5 years. Unfortunately a lot of chains have taken hold of 101A and even Bedford, but that is what happens.

                                          There are still a lot of non chains to visit.

                                          Welcome back to the area.

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